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The author identifies three key weaknesses in the debate leading up to establishing the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) for the European Union (EU). The process started in 1996 and a generally useful and relevant discussion has taken place between various governmental and non-governmental actors concerning conflict-prevention and structural stability. The author believes there must be further consideration of inconsistencies in international policy, the incoherence of the view that conflict and structural instability are essentially problems of the `South’, and the tendency to analyse only countries where conflict has broken out, ignoring those where the potential for violence existed, but was avoided.

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